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11 May, 2024 15:26

Three EU nations persecuting Russian speakers – Moscow

The Baltic states have been displaying “extreme Russophobia,” harassing even Russian-speaking children, a senior diplomat says
Three EU nations persecuting Russian speakers – Moscow

Moscow will not sever diplomatic relations with Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania despite the “extreme Russophobia” rampant in the three Baltic states, since such a move would effectively mean “abandoning our compatriots in trouble,” the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second European Department, Sergey Belyayev, has said.

The senior diplomat made the remarks in an interview with TASS published on Saturday. Moscow downgraded diplomatic relations with the three countries a year ago, in response to repeated hostile acts on their part, with the country’s missions currently led by their respective chargés d’affaires, Belyayev noted.

“Today, our diplomatic missions in the Baltic states operate in extremely difficult, effectively siege conditions,” the diplomat explained.

The Russian missions there have been repeatedly vandalized, with russophobic pickets held outside the facilities on an almost daily basis and employees attacked on several occasions. The hostile activities have been going on with the “connivance of local authorities” and no real action to stop them has been taken, Belyayev added.

Russian nationals and even locals who are speakers of Russian have been increasingly persecuted in the three Baltic states, under the “far-fetched pretext of [being] a threat to national security,” the diplomat said.

“Russophobia and everyday discrimination are growing, including bullying of children in schools and even kindergartens,” Belyayev warned, pointing out that the “Russian language has been almost completely squeezed out of all spheres of public life, including the education system.”

However, Russia is not planning to sever diplomatic ties with the Baltic states and evacuate its missions there, effectively abandoning fellow Russians in distress, the diplomat said.

“The Baltic states, especially Latvia and Estonia, are home to a large number of Russian-speaking people, including Russian citizens,” Belyayev stated.

“In the current situation, we do not have the moral right to abandon our compatriots in trouble; we are actively fighting police brutality, not only in specialized international structures, but also directly in the Baltic countries, involving human-rights activists and lawyers,” the diplomat explained.